To receive an application made under section 17 of the Licensing Act
2003 for a new premises licence in respect of the above mentioned
The Sub Committee heard an application for the grant of a premises licence for Black Swan, 37 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BT.
It was noted that the premises benefited from an existing premises licence. The application proposed an entirely new operating schedule, which included an extension of the terminal hour for licensable activities.
Present at the hearing were:
Mr Ord – Premises Licence Holder
Mr Lyons- Licence Holders Agent
PC Arkle – West Yorkshire Police
Ms Holden – Leeds City Council Licensing Authority
Mr Mudhar – Leeds City Council Environmental Protection Team
It was reported that the premises were situated within a Cumulative Impact Area (Red Zone) and as such representations had been received from West Yorkshire Police, Leeds City Council Licensing Authority and – Leeds City Council Environmental Protection Team.
Mr Lyons addressed the Sub Committee submitting that there were exceptional circumstances relating to this application as follows:
25 other premises in the vicinity to the Black Swan traded later than the Black Swan putting the venue at a disadvantage. It was highlighted that the venue was also unique to the area, it was not drink driven and nor were there any drinks promotions. Mr Lyons stressed that the Black Swan “raised the bar” due to the high quality food and drink on offer.
The premises had recently been re-furbished at a cost of approximately £250,000.
The venue was unique in that food would continue to be served until late into the evening and until 3.30am if the application was granted. Furthermore, that after 6pm the first floor of the premise would be reserved for dining only.
The applicant also proposed to reduce the capacity of the venue from 450 to 375 people.
The Sub Committee were informed that the current licence which permits alcohol to be sold until 3am meant that the Black Swan could not continue to service its customers after this hour and that they subsequently went to other venues to get served.
Allowing the venue to stay open for the extra hour requested would also mean a more gradual dispersal of patrons, which would help reduce problems caused by large numbers of people spilling onto Call Lane all at once.
The Sub Committee heard that the venue had successfully operated longer opening hours on several occasions through the use of Temporary Event Notices and had received no objections.
Mr Lyons refuted evidence submitted by West Yorkshire Police about crimes being committed on the premises of the Black Swan. It was also highlighted that no residential objections to the premises had been received at any time.
Mr Lyons addressed the representation made from the Environmental Protection Team explaining that one complaint had been made about the Black Swan and that this was due to the failure of a fire escape which allowed noise to escape the building.
Members asked why the applicant wanted to open for an extra hour, it was explained that the applicant wished to have commercial parity to help maintain his customer base.
The Sub Committee then heard from PC Arkle of West Yorkshire Police who highlighted the crime and disorder in the Call Lane area and put it to the Sub Committee that the Black Swan may contribute to this.
The Sub Committee heard about the saturation of licensed premises in the area that have led many local residents to complain to West Yorkshire Police about this part of Leeds.
The witness statements submitted by West Yorkshire Police were also considered by Members and were used to paint a picture of the type of problems associated with this part of the City.
The Sub Committee were informed that the Black Swan was opposite an alley which led to Regent Court where there were serious problems with anti-social behaviour.
PC Arkle explained that no representations had been made by local residents this possibly due to the difficulty people find with making themselves known when complaining. However PC Arkle highlighted that residents had been happy to make witness statements.
PC Arkle considered that this application was not exceptional and that extending the hours of licensable activity resulted in more people with more alcohol in their systems at a peak time for crime and disorder in the area.
PC Arkle agreed that no crime and disorder had been associated with the operation of temporary events. However she felt that this did not mean that crime had not occurred in other premises due to the later than normal opening hours of the venue during these temporary events.
The Sub Committee heard that although the venue is food driven in West Yorkshire Police’s experience after 12:00am people want to drink alcohol and not eat food. Furthermore that the hours between 02:00 and 04:00 were peak times for robberies in the Call Lane area.
The Sub Committee heard from Mr Mudhar – Leeds City Council Environmental Protection Team, who highlighted that the CIP and Red Zone had been created because of evidence of problems with noise and anti-social behaviour in this area of the City. The Sub – Committee were informed that it was very difficult to pin point which premises and where noise and loud music escaped from in this area and to which venue people had been in.
Mr Mudhar went through the list of complaints received from residents against licensed premises situated in The Calls Red CIP Area in 2013 and 2014 as detailed at Appendix 1 of the submitted report. The Sub Committee were informed that often people did not wish to have complaints formally logged as residents in the area did not wish to be identified.
Mr Mudhar submitted that extending the hours of this venue would only add to the problems encountered by the Environmental Protection Team in this area.
Members asked if any residents regularly met to discuss issues. Mr Mudhar responded that no co-ordinated group existed to discuss the noise issues of the area and that residents in the main were very patient.
The Sub-Committee heard from Ms Holden – Leeds City Council Licensing Authority who re-iterated that the application fell within the Cumulative Impact Area and Red Zone. It was highlighted that this was an already very busy area and that due to this, road closures were in operation at the weekend to help ensure public safety. Ms Holden commented that the applicant was a good operator but questioned whether the venue was exceptional enough to allow for potentially 375 people leaving the premises at 4:30 in the morning.
The Sub Committee carefully considered the application and the objections. It was noted that the premises are located in the Red Zone of a Cumulative Impact Area. The Committee also noted that the Cumulative Impact Policy creates a rebuttable presumption of refusal for an application of this type. However, in this instance the Sub-Committee felt that the application was exceptional.
RESOLVED – That the application be granted as applied for.